Playing with purpose: Integrating sports, conservation and rural development in communities surrounding Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The non-governmental organization (NGO) Peace for Conservation implements a sports program through the Rhino Cup Champions League Tanzania—an amateur football league situated in rural Tanzania for young men and women residing in communities surrounding Serengeti National Park and Kijereshi Game Reserve in Tanzania. Both boys' and girls' secondary school teams actively participate in this initiative.
During and After the Games
Throughout and after the games, players and football enthusiasts get the opportunity to learn about wildlife conservation, climate change mitigation, and receive awareness messages from park rangers. Simultaneously, villagers contribute their local knowledge, concerns, and livelihood needs. This engagement opens avenues for villagers to actively participate in wildlife conservation education through sports, acquiring skills to prevent human-elephant conflicts, and exploring opportunities within the wildlife sector.
The Power of Soccer (Football)
We firmly believe in the power of soccer to communicate with people and instigate positive changes in attitudes towards community development, wildlife conservation, liberating young people from poaching, promoting conservation, and giving poaching syndicates the red card.
Peace for Conservation initiated its operations in 2016 in the Busega District's western corridor of the Serengeti National Park. The organization has consistently employed sports, especially football, to disseminate wildlife conservation and water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) information in primary and secondary schools. This approach aims to encourage community development in the context of wildlife conservation since 2016.
Rewards for Achievements
Winners from the football league's secondary school teams are rewarded with 100 bags of cement and 100 iron sheets intended for constructing two classrooms. Similarly, the girls' team winners receive 100 bags of cement and 100 iron sheets for the construction of private toilets, providing a facility for changing sanitary pads and reducing school dropouts during menstruation periods. Community members actively participate in these construction activities through donated labor, involving tasks such as fetching water, collecting sand, gathering stones, and digging foundations for classrooms or private toilets.
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About the author
David Leonard Kabambo is the Co-founder and Chief executive officer at Peace for Conservation.